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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    East Bay, CA
    Posts
    3

    Fat and Unfit - How to Start Biking?

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    I've decided to finally do something about my weight and complete lack of fitness. My town has lots of fairly flat hiking and biking trails, so, although I haven't been on a bike since I was a teenager - I'm 39 now - I'm thinking that it might be a good low-impact form of exercise for me.

    I'm 60lbs overweight, apple-shaped, and fairly, um, blessed in the boob department. For these reasons I'm thinking that it might be a good idea to start out with a comfort bike, being more upright seems like the way to go, plus, I'm not exactly gonna go fast for a while! Does that sound reasonable?

    I guess I'm looking for words of encouragement and advice about how to start out. For example any good places to buy plus sized gear? Also, and this sounds stupid, but will I remember how to ride a bike? It's been 25 years!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
    Posts
    473
    How tall are you? Will you be riding mountain or road?

    If you are tall enough, men's bikes might be better for you because men's bikes tend to hold more weight. But, best to find a local bike shop with a certified bike fitter. Then, you don't have to worry as much about getting the wrong bike.

    There are also lots and lots of websites for plus, plus, plus size biking gear (jerseys/biking shorts) if you don't fit anything in the store.

    Lots of TE members have lost weight and gained athleticism via biking. As for riding a bike in more than 25 yrs, me too. I just started myself at the age of 35++ years old. You'll pick it up. But you'll have to try riding in order to remember how to do it. So don't give up!
    _________________________________________________
    2012 Specialized Amira Elite, upgraded carbon handle bars, Jett saddle 143mm switched to 145mm 2012 Selle Italia Max SLR Gel Flow saddle

    2011 Specialized Ariel Sport,suspension post,Serfas Rx Women's Microfiber saddle
    Last edited by TigerMom; 08-15-2012 at 05:38 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Ann Arbor
    Posts
    42
    It's great low impact exercise!

    As far as bikes are concerned, test drive lots and maybe end up with something used to start. If you really enjoy cycling, you'll probably want to upgrade soon.

    I'm also overweight. I bought a "comfort" bike about five years ago and rarely used it. I felt like all of my energy was going up and down in the shocks and cushy seat instead of forward.

    Two and 1/2 years ago I bought an "urban hybrid" bike - skinny tires, flat bar, low-end road components with a mountain bike style frame. That ended up being a much better bike for me, and I started commuting and doing longer rides of 20-25 miles.

    Six months later I was so excited about riding that I bought a carbon road bike. My body has changed greatly, and now I'm thinking about doing my first century.

    Good luck with whatever you decide. Just make sure it fits you well. If you get a bad fit, you can get discouraged quickly.
    2010 Trek Madone 4.5
    2013 Velo Orange Campeur

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Ann Arbor
    Posts
    42
    P.S. Team Estrogen has a plus sized filter for the clothing they have for sale on this site. I'm about a size 16w/1x in street clothes, but I take a xxl in Terry and the tighter cut Pearl Izumi. Shebeest and Moving Comfort (harder to find brands) fit me well in 1x. I haven't tried Mt Borah yet.
    2010 Trek Madone 4.5
    2013 Velo Orange Campeur

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,713
    Welcome to TE! TE does have plus sizes, and awesome customer service.

    Perhaps start out with a hybrid. I say this because the cruiser-type comfort bikes are really only good for very short rides, and so if you like biking, you'll get more use out of a hybrid. Shop around and test a lot of bikes.

    Good luck, and have fun.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


    Saving for the next one...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Plantation, FL
    Posts
    45
    Jude, Welcome. I know just where you are coming from and in fact I have been lurking here for about 6 months and finally am jumping in the conversation. I started biking about 1 1/2 years ago..had thought about it for a while and wish I had tried it earlier because now I"m addicted. I went to my local bike store which happened to be a trek superstore--or rather the one I chose was. They were great about asking what type of riding I was going to do and letting me try out bikes. I ended up with hybrid that I loved and at the beginning of this summer I bought an entry road bike that I love even more. The hybrid was great to start because of the more upright positioning and due to neck problems in the past I've also chosen a road bike that I can be more upright on even with drop bars so I"m not in the most athletic position. I'm turning the hybrid into a "running errands" bike. So, you are warned--not only is it fun, but it's addictive! Since starting I have lost over 30 pounds--still have about 80 more to go. Recently I find that the clothes size is shrinking more than the pounds are coming off, but I'll take what I can get. It's good when your dr. walks in the office and says, "The scale doesn't say you lost weight since your last visit, but you definitely did when I look at you." And more importantly I feel better, stronger, and actually feel athletic, which is a completely new feeling for me given I have never been athletic in any way.

    So, I guess I'm saying you are not alone. Find a local bike store and have them help you decide what type of bike to get that you will be comfortable with. The hardest part for me was riding a bike for the first time in the parking lot at the store; however, it all came back immediately I hadn't ridden since high school. Keep in mind when buying that you probably will want a new one once you are fit. For some people that means buying a bike they can sell or convert as a first bike; for some it means making sure they buy something they think will last; and for others it means buying used or less expensive bike as the first one until you decide if you like it. Some LBS will also let you rent bikes for a bit to try it out; just be aware that won't be quite the same as your bike. IF you aren't comfortable with the folks at one LBS try another if you have the option of more than one. I still find them intimidating even though they have been nothing but nice to me.

    OK, that was probably a lot more than you wanted to know, but as you can see I really fell for cycling and it's made a huge difference in how I feel and look. And for plus clothes, I love Terry. You can get some of their stuff on TE. They have been good quality and fit well with a relaxed fit I like so they aren't quite so tight.

    Enjoy the ride and let us know what you get!!

    Chris

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,352
    For encouragement I'll say you can do it! 7 months ago I was 70lbs overweight. Now I only have 20lbs left to go to reach my goal.

    My advice is to take one day at a time and not be too hard on yourself. When I started I could only stay on the elliptical 5 minutes. Now an hour is easy for me.

    I'm also a beginner rider. I've got an entry level mountain bike on layaway that I should have out in Sept. I'm betting it will help with this last 20. I'm seriously bored with the gym.
    2012 Jamis Quest Brooks B17 Blue
    2012 Jamis Dakar XC Comp SI Ldy Gel
    2013 Electra Verse

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Katy, Texas
    Posts
    1,828
    125 pounds ago I could barely ride a mile a day. When I could ride one I aimed for 2 ad so on. recently in may I rode the length of the Mississippi from New Orleans to its headwaters in Lake Itasca MN. Yoyu can do it."baby steps, baby steps."
    marni
    Katy, Texas
    Trek Madone 6.5- "Red"
    Trek Pilot 5.2- " Bebe"


    "easily outrun by a chihuahua."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    467
    You all give me hope.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Whitmore Lake, Michigan
    Posts
    930
    Welcome and congratulations on taking charge of your life and your health! Bike riding will come back to you, just take it slow and easy to start and bike someplace where there are few obstacles until you get past the wobbles.

    When I first got back into bicycling I was shocked to know how much being out of shape affected my ability to handle a bike. It takes a few rides to feel like you can control the bike because being out of shape means you don't have much strength either. Strength, confidence and control comes with time on the bike. Starting out with a used bike means little investment until you are certain that you will keep up with it. I have no doubt you will because cycling is very addictive. It makes you feel good and feel good about yourself. After a few months you will know what kind of riding you'll be doing and you can get a better bike. However, if money is no object, start off with a new one by all means!
    Bike Writer

    http://pedaltohealth.blogspot.com/

    Schwinn Gateway unknown year
    Specalized Expedition Sport Low-Entry 2011

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    central Idaho mountains
    Posts
    53
    You've come to the right place! You'll find encouragement and support as well as answers to the questions you don't want to ask anyone else! That's been my experience. I always find that somebody here knows the answer, no matter how basic or strange my question is.

    I'm another one with that familiar story that begins with wanting to lose weight and feel fit, wondering if I could ride a bike again, getting started, getting hooked, and looking to upgrade the wheels! I ride every other day, and then kayak on the other days. I've lost 15 lbs so far, with about 25-30 to go. I started with riding to the end of our street and now I can do 20 miles.

    What's addicting are the endorphins! Life is beautiful again!
    Shelley, Great Grandma Beginner
    1991 Specialized Hard Rock
    2012 Trek Superfly100 AL Elite

    Occasional blogging at: My Mountain Home

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583
    Welcome to TE!!

    I'm a physical therapist during the day and moonlight as a coach. Riding a bike is a great way to get back into shape while minimizing the impact on your joints!

    Most people that are heavier do best on hybrids to start out. Then as you get fitter you may want a different bike. It's sounds a little crazy to buy one bike then another in a year but think of it as an investment in your health. Spending time an money on a bike will help to keep many heath problems away!

    I wish I could find an article on line that I read in the Rivendell Newsletter one time. It was about a man who was a little over 500 lbs and had been told by his doctor that he had about 3 years to live unless he lost the weight. He tried walking but it was too painful. He started riding a bike but all the bikes he tried couldn't support his weight without breaking down. Rivendell (custom steel bike builder) worked with him to build a really beefy bike that would take his weight. He started out barely able to do 1 mile, but he tried to ride every day. 2 years later he was down to 230 lbs!! Less than half his former body weight!! This was combined with diet of course. He also had a rule that he had to ride at least 10 miles every day at that point. Even in the middle of a Minnesota winter.

    Good luck on your journey. Please check in to TE often and let us know how you're doing.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,083
    Welcome to TE! I think you'll find answers to just about anything you might be wondering about here, and then some, but I'll just say one thing since it crops up often:
    don't think you need a big, cushy saddle because you're heavier than some riders. The size and shape of the saddle has very little, if anything, to do with how much weight you're carrying on the outside. If you don't believe me just check out any bike rider from behind, and see how narrow the saddle is compared to the total size of anybody's butt

    A comfortable saddle is important for comfortable riding. It has to be wide enough to support your sit bones, but narrow enough to avoid chafing. Any good bike store will know this, and if they don't say anything about it, ask.

    Oh, and a bike is a fantastic way to work out while carrying extra weight. I carried on biking up into high pregnancy because it was by far the most comfortable way of moving and getting some exercise.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    510
    +1 with looking at a hybrid road bike. If you end up liking cycling you will outgrow the comfort bike a lot sooner. At least with the hybrid bike you will be able to go event rides on it so will last longer.

    Don't forget to invest in cycle shorts and gloves as well has helmet, puncture repair kit and pump. And get out there.

    Also don't be afraid to talk to anyone cycling as well. You might find like minded people and create a group. The other day a guy caught up to DH and I on our tandem. He and his wife were new in town and also had a tandem. We exchanged numbers and now we have some cycle budies as well as new friends (we have had them over for dinners!).

    Cycling is a fantastic way to grow healthy and grow as a person.

    Welsome!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    355
    Welcome! I am also 60 lbs overweight and have been cycling all summer on a Raleigh seven speed hybrid. I've done about 450 miles or 35 miles a week. You can cycle no matter how heavy you are. I know a guy at least 100 lbs overweight who is actually a bicycle cop. He's been on a bike since he was a kid. GOOD LUCK!

 

 

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